After a five day hiatus for the All-star break, the NHL is back in action Tuesday night. During that hiatus, the NHL officially announced an outdoor Stadium Series game to be played between the Avs and Red Wings in Denver February 27th, 2016. As it would be, those two teams were the only two teams without an active representative for the All-Star game in Columbus. The reason for the Avalanche's absence was the loss of the team's All-Star defenseman, Erik Johnson. What was originally considered a minor injury has needed knee surgery. If the task of getting into the playoffs wasn't already hard enough, the Avs will have to do it without their best defenseman for 3-8 weeks.
The Avs will be taking on the Central Division leading Nashville Predators the next two games for a home-and-home starting in Nashville. The Predators are without their own All-Star player, as Pekka Rinne is still out for a couple weeks with a sprained knee. That may spell a little good news for the Avs as they will need all the help they can get against a red hot Nashville team that has only lost one game in regulation in the last ten.
With Johnson on the IR, I wouldn't be surprised if the Avs call up a guy like Stefan Elliot. But for now, here's a guess:
- Tuesday will be Zach Redmond's 27th game of the year; nine more games than he had played in his whole NHL career prior to signing with the Avalanche.
- All-Star rookie, Filip Forsberg continues to lead both the Predators and all NHL rookies with 40 points and a plus-24 rating.
- All-Star defenseman, Shea Weber won the Hardest-Shot competition at the NHL Skills Competition Saturday. The winning shot registered in at 108.5 MPH, second only to Zdeno Chara's 108.8 MPH blast in 2012 in the competition's history.
Game time: 6pm, MT